Rental and retail dvd & video (buena vista home entertainment, widescreen)

Kill Bill Vol 2

Although Vol 1 delivered gloriously demented energy, crazy-paving style and a skyscraper body count, Tarantino purists lamented the lack of wordy dialogue and funky gristle that would have made it a full Quentinburger with cheese. Well, here it all is in Vol 2. Sure, Uma'n'Keith (Carradine) share enough sassy lines and high-kicking homicides to hold you, but the conclusion still whimpers when it should bang.

The Human Stain

Given short shrift by most cinema critics, Robert Benton's flawed adaptation of Philip Roth's novel is wonderfully acted by two stars who've been praised for far inferior performances. Anthony Hopkins is the professor sacked for alleged political incorrectness; Nicole Kidman the damaged younger woman with whom he enjoys "not my first love, not my great love, but my last love." Both risky and tender.

Cold Mountain

Anthony Minghella's Civil War epic has plenty of razzle: spectacular opening sequence; deserter Jude Law's trans-American journey to Nicole Kidman; leery sheriff Ray Winstone; doughty Calamity Jane farmhand Renée Zellweger; and a plethora of star cameos. And yet, bar some early 'war is hell' pomposity, it's a disappointingly hollow experience

Intermission

Cracking ensemble comedy drama set on the mean streets of contemporary Dublin. Colin Farrell is the petty crook out to pull a career-topping scam, Colm Meaney is the cop on the case, and there's fine support from Shirley Henderson, Cillian Murphy and Kelly Macdonald. Farrell's a ball of manic fury, but it's Meaney—who appears to believe he's living in some US TV cop show from the '70s—who steals the film.

Starsky And Hutch

After all the talk of paying tribute to original 1970s cops David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson throw out any genuine resemblance to those freewheeling dudes and simply take the piss for 90 minutes. There are some canny gags and clever pastiches of buddy-movie clichés, but they give up on it halfway through and just cruise camply.

Choppers’ Paradise

First part of Tarantino's kick-ass grindhouse homage testifies to his awesome directorial development

The Four Feathers

Shekhar Kapur directed this third version of AEW Mason's regimental romance about the Sudanese war. Unfortunately, his ambitions to turn it into a critique of British imperialism are drowned under James Horner's glutinous score and colourless performances from the vapid Heath Ledger and chums. Notable exception—Djimon Hounsou, as the noble nomad who saves our brave English boys from a fiery desert hell. There's also one great battle scene.

Tadpole

Fighting free from the monumental shadows of Woody Allen and Whit Stillman, Gary Winick's Tadpole—hewn from that same Upper East Side social milieu and following the vaguely familiar unrequited infatuations of Aaron Stanford's 15-year-old Voltaire-quoting, stepmom-fancying preppy—is 77 unapologetic and mostly witty minutes of romantic ephemera.

Chicago

So it's a musical, it won many Oscars, and it's got Catherine Zeta-Jones in it. But that doesn't mean it sucks! Anything that's influenced by Bob Fosse is bound to have a dark undercurrent, and this crowd-pleasing tale of man-murdering molls and the common craving for publicity is witty and slick. Renée Zellweger, Richard Gere and that Jones woman sing and hoof.
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